Simancas: September 1567

Pages 672-677

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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September 1567

6 Sep. 439. The Same to the Same.
Lignerolles, the envoy of the king of France to Scotland, arrived here on the last day of the month. He says that the Queen still remained in prison, and is sure there is no danger for her life. He and Throgmorton took similar steps in vigorously urging that the Queen should be liberated and restored, but without effect, except to save her from danger ; more indeed because it suits the lords than for any love they bear her, as there is not a person who has a good word to say for her, He did not see the Queen, nor did he try to do so, as he saw they would not let him speak with her. He treated with them for her liberation, but the lords answered him that they would not listen to it except under two conditions, first that Bothwell should be punished, and secondly that they should be assured that the Queen would forget the past and never take steps with regard to it. Throgmorton and Lignerolles thought that these conditions would be agreed to as they were reasonable, and promised the same in the names of their sovereigns, but it all ended in nothing.
The government there is in the hands of the Council with Murray for Regent for 16 or 17 years, and they have passed a law establishing heresy and permitting nothing else to be taught under pain of death. All the Councillors agreed to this except the earl of Athol. The country is therefore in form a republic, which in fact is what the heretics desire everywhere. They say they hate the very name of King, and more still the idea of being governed by a woman.
The man who has the castle of Edinburgh was one of Bothwell's most trusted friends, and Lignerolles says that if he chose, the lords would be able to do nothing, as he could by firing four pieces of artillery from the castle turn them all out of Edinburgh. When the Queen commanded him to do so, he replied that he dared not unless she herself took the field, which she thereupon did, but the matter failed in consequence of his friendship with the lords of the congregation.
It is believed for certain that this man was one of the principal actors in the murder of the King, and for this reason and to throw blame upon the Queen the Councillors ordered him to confess all he knew about it. He declared that the Queen had called him aside one day, and after having expressed her entire confidence in him said that she was very angry with the King for the murder of Secretary David, and the great ingratitude he had shown towards her. She hated him so that she could not endure the sight of him and was determined to have him killed. She wished this to be done by his hand and asked him to take charge of the business, to which he replied that he would serve her in all else as was his duty, but this he could not do, as the King was her husband and a sovereign. She replied to this that he ought to do as she commanded, as she was his natural ruler ; but he excused himself, and she thereupon told him that he was a coward, and said he was not to divulge what she had said under pain of death, for which reason he had not dared to warn the King.
Lignerolles also tells me that Edinburgh Castle was to be surrendered to the earl of Murray, which he thinks has been done, and that the keeper thereof was in possession of all the Queen's jewels and money. Bothwell had been in one of the Orkney islands but had shipped into five small pirate ships, and the lords had fitted out four fine vessels to go in search of him. The Hamiltons, he says, are more powerful than the lords of the congregation, but as the latter hold the government and the castle of Edinburgh they dare not offend them. As soon as the earl of Murray arrived he saw the Queen and stayed with her the whole of one day. He thinks that the confederates are not very harmonious, and that they will fall out amongst themselves. Murray is ruled by Lethington, the late secretary of the Queen, a man of talent, strongly attached to the new religion.
I asked this gentleman how he had addressed the lords in his King's name ; if singly or together, or in committee. He said that they had taken him to a house and introduced him into a chamber where there was a table on a dais and all the Counsellors were seated before it. On one side was the earl of Murray and he was placed opposite to him, the rest of the Counsellors being placed according to seniority. He had handed the letters from his King to each of them one by one, and addressed each one separately although in presence of the rest. In this way each one received a separate letter and was addressed individually : as I say, however, in presence of the rest. After this he only spoke with the earl of Murray. I asked him also if the Queen knew of his coming ; he said yes, and she had written him a note with her own hand asking him to tell her if he brought any message to her from the King, and to give her news of the health of the Cardinal and her kinsmen. The man who brought the note was a Frenchman, but still he did not dare to answer except in general terms, as he was afraid he could not trust him, he being a heretic. Throgmorton, he says, acted vigorously and earnestly in favour of that Queen, which I quite believe, as he has always been attached to her. He is also a great friend of Robert's and an enemy of Cecil, whom the Queen does not consider to be in favour of the queen of Scots, but a partisan of Catharine.
Lignerolles saw this Queen on the 3rd inst., and will leave to-morrow for France. As I write this nothing is known as to what passed between them, but I believe he expected to find here the duke of Chatelherault, but he has not yet arrived. Throgmorton remained in Scotland expecting his recall.
The French Ambassador showed me a letter from Secretary L'Aubespine of the 18th ult., advising him of news from Madrid that your Majesty's journey to Flanders was now certain, but that you would leave from Santander instead of Corunna, but still he thinks your Majesty will not go thither, but will make a voyage to Algiers instead. They say Throgmorton left Scotland a week ago and is expected at Windsor to-morrow. I understand Lignerolles is not so pleased with his action about the queen of Scots as he told me. He signified this to the Queen, who told him that Throgmorton had orders to do all he could in her favour, and if he had not done so he was wrong. Throgmorton says the same of Lignerolles as the latter does of him, and I was told that Lignerolles was much more gentle with the lords than Throgmorton was. However it may be, the Prince whom they call King will not fall into French hands or English either just yet.
I wrote that a courier had arrived from the earl of Sussex from Vienna, but I have not learned that he brings anything but news of his arrival and good reception. He hoped that the Archduke Charles would arrive in four days, and a gentleman is expected here daily with news from Sussex about the marriage.—London, 6th September 1567.
13 Sep. 440. The Same to the Same.
Throgmorton arrived here on the night of the 11th, and he and Cecil left for Windsor yesterday. He left things in Scotland as they were when Lignerolles departed, but that the castle of Edinburgh was now in the hands of Murray.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 6th that although Lignerolles had praised Throgmorton's action in favour of the queen of Scotland I was told he had spoken in a contrary sense to this Queen. Cecil sent word that he understood Throgmorton had done everything possible for the Queen, and he proved it on his departure because on a handsome present being sent him by the lords in the name of the Prince they call King, he had not accepted it, saying that he would only receive it if it came in the name of their Queen, and so he came without it, which Lignerolles had not done as he took his present and expressed his goodwill towards the lords.
I sent a person to Plymouth to see Hawkins' ships aud men. He tells me that he is taking the Queen's two ships and four others one of 80 tons, another of 50 or 60, and two pinnaces, and six or seven hundred men, with much artillery and munition, but no lime, stone or other building material. The man writes me that it is still believed they are going on the ordinary expedition, and to try to take the castle of Mina and its territory inland, and thence to go with negroes to the Indies, and sell them as usual. My own belief is as I have written your Majesty, that they intend to go to the place where Melvin's son told me, if they do not stop at Madeira, as certain Portuguese have left here on the business. The principal of them came hither from France, and it was he who prompted Monluc's expedition.
Enclosed is a copy of the oath taken by the earl of Murray when he accepted the government of Scotland, translated from the Scotch. I am just informed that news has arrived that the ships sent by the lords against Bothwell had engaged him and taken him prisoner, and that the Queen had been taken from her prison and placed elsewhere for her greater comfort.—London, 13th September 1567.
20 Sept. 441. The Same to the Same.
The Queen is still at Windsor and is well. All here is quiet. They think it is getting late for your Majesty to go to Flanders, and that you will not pass by these seas, but they still guard their ports carefully. I do not know who has alarmed them so unless indeed it be the prickings of their own conscience.
It is believed that Both well will already be in prison, but it is not known for certain. News to that effect comes from Berwick, but it is no doubt surmise, as Lord Grange who was sent by the lords against Bothwell to one of the Orkneys where he had taken refuge with only 12 men had entered the island and it was impossible for Bothwell to escape. The Queen is still in Lochleven castle, and there has been no change at present as I advised in my last.
Great surprise is expressed here at the imprisonment of Counts Egmont and Horne, and Cecil has sent to tell me so, especially as to Egmont, whom they consider a Catholic. I might well reply that this will show them that the origin of what has happened in the States has not been a question of religion and might if necessary, get them consequently, to expel some of these rebels of whom a great number are here. The Queen will recollect that she told me at the beginning of these disturbances, as I wrote at the time, that she always considered Egmont was not to be trusted in these affairs.— London, 20th September 1567.
23 Sept.
B.M., M.S. Simancas, Add. 26056b.
442. De Wachen (fn. 1) to the King.
Extract :—
I cannot refrain from informing your Majesty that whilst I was riding at anchor before Dover for about three hours awaiting the arrival of the vest of my ships which were following me, the mayor of the town came on board and congratulated me on my arrival, saying that the Queen had given orders in all ports of the kingdom that we were to be welcomed and assisted. Notwithstanding this, as I was entering the port of Plymouth, before even I had cast anchor, a certain Mr. John Hawkins (who calls himself Commander of six very large and four middle sized vessels which he is fitting out with all speed there, although he says he is ignorant of his destination, as the Queen has not yet told him) opened fire upon us from a tower and also from his ships, and discharged six or seven cannon shots at us until one went into my ship, and I was obliged to haul down your Majesty's flag, a thing that has never happened to me before in England during all the 17 or 18 years I have filled my post.—23rd September 1567.
28 Sept. 443. Guzman de Silva to the King.
On the 22nd M. de Pasquier, Knight of the Order, arrived here sent by the King to Scotland. On the 25th he went to visit the Queen at Windsor and returned yesterday.
He will not leave here so soon as was intended. I do not know what he said to the Queen, but it is thought certain that his conversation will have been about the means of liberating the queen of Scotland and settling affairs there. I suspect that both the French and these folks are doing it more out of show and compliment than for any effect they expect to produce. This is easily seen by the way they proceed.
These people are pleased with what happened in Scotland as they have now nothing to fear from that side. They were formerly in great alarm and not without reason. The earl of Bedford has leave to return hither from Berwick ; a sure sign that they feel secure. They have also stopped the fortifications there, and license has been given also to Hunsdon, who is not thought much of a soldier.
The viceroy of Ireland is expected daily as he was already in the North, and matters will be arranged in consultation with him. This will be easy as there is no opposition to them now that O'Neil is dead. If they could only feel secure about your Majesty and the duke of Alba's army they would have nothing to trouble them anywhere since they are free from anxiety about France in its present divided condition.
It is not known whether Hawkins' ships have left Plymouth, but news has arrived here that Caldeira and the other Portuguese who were to accompany him have fled from him. This was brought about by the Portuguese Ambassador in France who promised them pardon and safety. Ten days ago there arrived here another Portuguese who was to go with them, called Diego Home, who was at once arrested, and they have shut him off from all communication. They announced also that they had arrested Caldeira and the rest of them, but it is not considered true.—London, 28th September 1567.


  • 1. The Flemish Admiral who had been sent with a fleet by the duchess of Parma to meet Philip on his voyage from Spain to Flanders.